Porn and the Pandemic: A study in adaptability

The Big Story
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

You might have seen the joke. And it is still mostly a joke going around the Internet. Another one of millions of jobs around world is lost to this pandemic and person who lost it whether they work in hospitality or media government or whatever takes to social media and with a rueful tone says ow well. I guess it's time to start my only fans account and people laugh. But only a little because another job has been lost and this year sucks. If. There are winners and twenty twenty though. Only fans is a big one. Like so much on the Internet it was a website created to allow people to connect with one another. and its technology offered a chance for creators. To monetize their fans by letting them subscribed to their feeds for a monthly fee exclusive content. And like so much on the Internet that technology was immediately used to make pornography. And really, all this couldn't have come at a better time not only was everyone stock at home all the mainstream pornography studios were shuttered for health reasons and all the performers needed work. So they went to work for themselves on only fans. So what has all this done to a porn industry that is constantly changing? His this next iteration, fleeting or permanent where is the line now between the mainstream pornography industry and the amateur people making money online. And is there a technology out there anywhere on the Internet that can't be used for porn? Okay, that last question was rhetorical. I'm Jordan Heath Rawlings. This is the big story. Lena macete is the producer of the last days of August and the butterfly effect. She's also a producer at this American life. She may be the podcast producer who knows the most about Porn Hello Lena. Hi. How are you? I'm doing really well, and maybe for people who haven't listened to the butterfly effects can you try to describe a how profoundly the porn industry has changed even over say the last five or seven years in how quickly it changes in general? Yeah. I mean it's changed dramatically since we made the butterfly effect which I believe we started reporting on Wiezman, Jon Ronson I was working with the a journalist Jon Ronson on both of those two series that you mentioned and I, believe we started reporting on it in two thousand sixteen and the question we were looking at in the butterfly effect was how has This relatively new access to unlimited porn for free that anyone can access on the Internet. How has that impacted the lives of the actual people making it? and. So basically, there's this company in Montreal. It's called his right now called minded Geek believe at the time it was called mind freak and originally I think it was called man win they run a website called porn hub they actually they own a bunch of streaming websites but they but porn hub for our purposes is like the one we're paying close attention to because it's the most visited porn site it regularly ranks as like one of the top ten most visited websites in America you know beside Google and twitter. And so the the reality of porn in two thousand sixteen is that a lot of it was still being made professionally. So in the US, it's made in Los Angeles in San Francisco in. Las Vegas and in Florida which means people are using budgets to pay actors and directors and sound people to make porn But then that porn is being uploaded illegally, it's being pirated to porn hub. Like Youtube just for porn, which means that the consumer isn't paying for it and the the question we were trying to get the answer to was like. How has it impacted porn people's livelihoods, and basically, what are they doing to make up for lost cash and what did the industry due to adapt to Mine Guiquan and the porn hub model? I mean the answer to that like you're you're right to point out that it's always changing like it's it's always changing to the point that before I got on the phone with you today I called one of the performers that we speak to in butterfly effect just to like catch up on what has happened in the last couple of weeks like it. It really does change all the time at the time the the answer hovered around custom porn, which is still what I would call it cust important. So that's porn that. A consumer can order directly from a performer that they like and often it. It breaks down to poor like basically for someone to reach out to a porn performer and ask them to make video in exchange for like one five, ten, thousand dollars It's because they have a specific kink or there's something they're interested in an otherwise can't find on the Internet and there's billions of hours of porn on the Internet. So when you're when you're to the point where you're looking for custom videos. More often than not is. So specific that like it might only apply like you might be the only person in the world who has the specific proclivity. So a lot of our series focused on custom porn on how like people who are made famous as mainstream porn stars are supplementing their income by making these custom videos

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